The Practical Guide to Content Marketing - 2019 Edition
Because of the Internet, the landscape as we see things today is radically different than it was 20 or even 10 years ago.
It used to be the case that if you realized you had a need for something (say a new TV because your current one was showing a distorted display) you would go to the nearest Best Buy (or even Circuit City) and speak to the experts about your options.
They would guide you through the different options and the technical specifications that would be necessary to produce the best sound and picture in your living room.
Times have changed.
Today, the buyer is the expert. The buyer acts as their own guide – their own in-store expert – by proactively performing the research, weighing the options and contacting the businesses they’ve determined are the most likely to be able to provide what they need.
Consider these statistics:
- Today’s buyer is anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their customer journey before they even reach out to a vendor.
- 82% of customers consult their phones on purchases they are about to make in-store and 45% read reviews before making a purchase.
- 89% of customers begin their buying process with a search engine. Now, before you assume that these statistics don’t carry over to the business-to-business world, consider the research below by Forrester: • Regarding B2B purchase decisions: 68% of B2B customers prefer to research independently online.
- And calling up a sales representative for help: 60% of buyers would rather not communicate with sales reps as their primary information source.
- 60% of B2B buyers would rather not communicate with sales reps as their primary information source.
There’s a reason why we – customers – feel this way. We’ve been empowered by content and content marketing.
According to the Content Marketing Institute: Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
At this very moment, consumers and business managers are actively searching the web for answers that your brand is already positioned to offer.
That’s right – your target market is already looking for you, and now it’s your turn to develop a content marketing strategy that provides the answers your potential customers are looking for before someone else does.
Before you run off to create your world-dominating content marketing strategy, it’s helpful to know what you’re aiming for. A good content marketing strategy delivers three very helpful benefits to your business:
- Increased brand awareness: As potential prospects and clients perform their research online, they’ll come across the content you’re creating.
- Increased brand preference: High-quality content helps to establish you and your company as a thought leader and the go-to-expert in your industry, which strengthens relationships with buyers.
- Greater customer reach at a reduced cost: Content marketing isn’t a short-term strategy. A growing library of great content will continue to reach more qualified leads and interest buyers for months and years to come.
As stated by marketing software firm Marketo: Content marketing is the savvy marketer’s response to the new, relationship-based, buyer-driven, digital marketplace.
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